Visit London Blog » up at the o2 Enjoy the very best of London Tue, 17 Mar 2015 16:11:19 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Things To Do in London For Thrill-seeking Teenagers By Dempsey, Age 13 Mon, 09 Feb 2015 14:33:37 +0000 Kia Ora (that’s “hello” in Maori, the native language in my country New Zealand). I recently spent a week in London and I’d like to share with you some cool, exciting things to do for teenagers in this lovely city.

My first piece of advice would be to buy a ZIP Oyster card. It only costs £10 and saves kids a lot of money on transport: half the adult price on the Tube and free on buses!

Up at the O2

Up at the O2

Up at The O2

Up at The O2 is like walking on the world’s biggest trampoline because the walkway across the top is made from the same bouncy material as The O2 itself. It’s not too difficult to climb and there are brilliant views; good for keen planespotters. It can be a bit windy so definitely bring gloves and a beanie hat. I recommend asking lots of questions as your guide has loads of great answers, like how each of the main tower wires can withstand 12 tons of tension! Things to see from the top include Emirates Air Line, The ArcelorMittal Orbit, the Royal Observatory Greenwich, and London City Airport.

Thames Clippers

Thames Clippers

MBNA Thames Clippers

We used a River Roamer ticket on board the MBNA Thames Clippers river bus when we got on at North Greenwich next to The O2. The boat to Embankment is actually really fast and it took us past Canary Wharf, The Cutty Sark, Tower Bridge, and Tate Modern, amongst others. It’s a fun way to travel through the city with comfortable chairs inside and even a small coffee shop. The best views are from the back.

Ripley's Believe It Or Not!

Ripley’s Believe It Or Not!

Ripley’s Believe It Or Not!

Within the first five minutes at Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! London I’d already seen a five-legged lamb and a knitted Ferrari car. I also found the longest nose in history (19cm), a painting created by a horse, a dog face man, and another man who drove nails into his head (don’t try this at home). My recommendation: pull a funny face in the mirror when you arrive in the room containing the world’s fattest and tallest men. Also, make sure you enjoy the mirror mazes and the laser ninja game.

RIB Voyages

RIB Voyages

London RIB Voyages

London RIB Voyages disembark next to The London Eye. Again, bring gloves and a hat. This is an experience for people who like rollercoaster rides. We learned some great facts along the way from our funny guide, such as how the river is just centimeters from flooding London twice a day, and how all signs around the world that point towards London use Charing Cross as their reference. We also did some great historic sightseeing including the Houses of Parliament, The Shard, Tower Bridge, the Tower of London, Tate Modern, St Paul’s Cathedral, Shakespeare’s Globe, and HMS Belfast.




The gameplay experience HintHunt is fun for anyone aged nine years and over and is excellent for families. You have one hour to solve your way out of a locked room. My main tip would be to look in every nook and cranny. I can’t tell you any more than that because I want to keep it a surprise. You will enjoy it though, I promise.

Lee Valley Velopark

Why stick to one type of cycling when you can try four, all in one place? At Lee Valley Velopark, you have a choice of BMX, track, road and mountain biking. We tried the last two. For the mountain biking we tackled a number of the trails that wound around the park, each colour-coded according to their difficulty. Make sure you don’t wear your best clothes for this because you will get muddy. The road track is super-smooth though and bobs up and down along a mile-long course; exhilarating stuff. Afterwards, we went into the Velodrome for a hot drink, which we enjoyed while watching cyclists on the indoor track.

All Star Lanes

All Star Lanes

All Star Lanes

All Star Lanes Westfield Stratford is recommended for parents with teenagers who want to add a bit of fun to their dining experience. Look out for the “drink, dine and bowl” offer which comprises two courses plus a drink and a game of bowling. There is also a similar kid’s deal. I started with an Oreo milkshake, which hit the spot, then shared quesadillas with my Dad as a starter. They were zesty, scrumptious and a little bit spicy. The buttermilk chicken with sweet potato fries helped to satisfy Dad’s spicy urges thanks to the jerk gravy, while I had a well-cooked, flavoursome burger. With a game of bowling after dinner (Dad claimed a rare victory this time!), it was a great end to the day. We also had wonderful service. The staff always had a smile on their faces.

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Spotlight On: Greenwich Wed, 30 Apr 2014 09:00:11 +0000 Mercedes tall ship. Photo credit: Royal Borough of Greenwich

You’ve probably heard of Greenwich for its rich maritime history, World Heritage status and great time-keeping (this is the home of Greenwich Mean Time, no less). But there’s plenty more to discover across this Royal Borough, from sky-high cable cars to an Art Deco mansion. Here are just five things to do while you’re staying in the area:

1. See Tall Ships and Nelson’s Uniform

Nelson's Trafalgar Uniform. © National Maritime Museum

If you’re visiting London this September, don’t miss the Royal Greenwich Tall Ships Regatta. Over five days (from 5 to 9 September), some 50 majestic tall ships will be arriving from the coast of Cornwall. But don’t worry if you miss out, one ship that’s not going anywhere is Cutty Sark – the last surviving tea clipper and the fastest and greatest of its time – now permanently docked in Greenwich. Don’t forget to pop into the nearby National Maritime Museum too to hear more fantastic sea tales – and see the coat Admiral Nelson wore at the Battle of Trafalgar (complete with bullet hole).
While you’re there… Eat lunch at The Trafalgar Tavern, a historic 19th century pub overlooking the River Thames.

2. See Time and Space at the Royal Observatory and Planetarium

Royal Observatory. Courtesy of Visit Greenwich

Sitting high above Greenwich town centre is the Royal Observatory, home of not only Greenwich Mean Time, but also the Prime Meridian of the world (the zero point of longitude), London’s only planetarium and the UK’s largest refracting telescope. Take in a show at the planetarium, marvel at Harrison’s timekeepers and stand astride the Prime Meridian line – with one foot in the east, the other in the west. Look out for new exhibitions too, such as Longitude Punk’d – featuring modern-day versions of the weird, wonderful and somewhat wacky inventions submitted during the late 18th and early 19th centuries.
While you’re there… Go on a ramble around Greenwich Park. This rolling green space is popular with locals and tourists alike for picnics, team games, strolls, boating-lake rides and squirrel spotting.

3. Soak up the view from a cable car or on top of The O2

Emirates Air Line

Get a bird’s eye view of Greenwich and across London from on top of The O2. How do you get up there? You climb of course. It’s all part of the Up At The O2 experience, a 90-minute journey to a 360-degree viewing platform atop the famous domed venue. Alternatively head to the nearby south terminal of the Emirates Air Line and take a cable car across the river to the north stop, Emirates Royal Docks. Or if you prefer to have your head in the clouds but your feet firmly on the ground, don’t miss the new Emirates Aviation Experience, where you can get a feel for life in the skies with the help of flight simulators and interactive aviation displays.
While you’re there… Experience another unusual form of London transport and travel back to Central London by boat with City Cruises or Thames Clippers.

4. Visit A Royal Residence

Queen's House. Courtesy of Visit Greenwich

Picturesquely located along the river, Queen’s House has ironically not housed many queens. Queen Anne (wife of James I) died before the building she commissioned was completed, and Henrietta Maria (wife of Charles I) spent little time there before the Civil War forced her to exile to France. It’s since fared better as an orphanage and then fine-art gallery – which it remains today. For something more off the beaten track, jump on the train to Eltham and visit the childhood home of Henry VIII, Eltham Palace – and the 1930s Art Deco mansion built next to the remains of this medieval royal palace.
While you’re there… Sample one of the homegrown, limited-edition beers at The Old Brewery, a working brewery with a restaurant/cafe and bar on the grounds of the Old Royal Naval College.

5.  Browse Greenwich Market

Greenwich Market stall

You don’t need to leave Greenwich to find great treasures, like maritime explorers of past, there are plenty of gems to uncover at Greenwich Market. Here, artists and craftspeople from the local area and beyond gather to sell their creations – from fashion to gifts, homemade candles and jewellery. There’s also a food section that’s always packed full of stalls selling street snacks from around the world. Head down on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays for antiques and collectibles, and on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and weekends for arts and crafts.

While you’re there… If it’s the weekend (or a bank holiday) don’t forget to pay a visit to Greenwich’s other market, the Greenwich Clocktower Market, where you’ll find quirky antique and vintage pieces.

See the Visit Greenwich website for more things to do in Greenwich.

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Top Five Accessible Experiences in London Thu, 30 Jan 2014 10:00:56 +0000

From sky-high bars to treetop walkways, London is bursting with accessible attractions. Here are a few of the best:

Cocktails at 350 Feet

Less able people often consider multi-storey buildings to be the enemy but once a building reaches a certain height, as is the case here, there’s no way anyone could make it up the stairs so you’re guaranteed that there will be a lift. The Paramount Bar at Centre Point gives you two experiences for the price of one: come for the outstanding cocktails and stay for the spectacular views. If you’re feeling really flush then you eat at the restaurant too.

Churchill War Rooms

See Where the War Was Won

A museum named after the former Prime Minister rather than one sponsored by that insurance peddling bulldog, The Churchill War Rooms let you into the bunker from where World War Two was coordinated. Considering its size and original use, it’s surprising that this is one of the more accessible London attractions. We get sick and tired of hearing venues say that buildings are too old to be adapted and this helps highlight why it’s such a feeble excuse. If you can adapt this, you can adapt anything.

Above the Trees at Kew Gardens

“Treetop walkway” and “wheelchair accessible” are two things you don’t expect to be found in the same sentence (again, altitude is a traditional nemesis for wheelchair users) but this 18m-high attraction is completely step-free for those who can’t manage the stairs. There’s a lift up to the walkway for less able visitors and once you’re up, the walkway is flat and lets you see Kew Gardens in a whole new dimension.

Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection

One of the capital’s most underrated and most accessible museums, The Wallace Collection is full of hidden gems. The Laughing Cavalier painting by Frans Hals is something of standout, even in a collection featuring works by Rembrandt, Titian and Gainsborough, but the building is grand enough in its own right to make it worth a visit. One of the best collections of the arts in the world – and it’s all accessible and free.

Climb the Dome

It might come as a surprise that the chance to climb over the roof of any building would be accessible to all but that is precisely the case at the O2 Arena. We’ve even been told by the guys who designed it that, while making sure that Up At The O2 is accessible, they wanted to make it as much of a thrilling experience as it is for able-bodied participants. The experience opens in Spring, but you need to get on the waiting list now for a realistic chance of making a booking in 2014.

This post was written by Max Sunter, chief ‘wheeler’ for Blue Badge Style, a ‘Michelin-like’ guide for the less able, their friends and families. Blue Badge Style offers information on what to do, where to go and what to buy to maintain your sense of style whatever the disability.


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London Photo of the Week: Emirates Air Line Sat, 04 Aug 2012 08:00:03 +0000

Tom Weightman got a stunning view of London from the Emirates Air Line. The Emirates Air Line is one of London’s most exciting new attractions. You can also climb the new walkway on top of the O2 arena, Up At The O2.

Have you taken any beautiful photos in London this week? There’s so much to see in London this summer! Add your photos to the Visit London Flickr group.

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Up at The O2 Walkway To Open in June Wed, 23 May 2012 11:30:48 +0000

Adventure-seekers will be able to get a unique view of London from the top of The O2 this summer.

Up at The O2 opens on 21 June and allows visitors to ascend to the top of The O2 via a 190m fabric platform.

Climbers will be decked out in a jumpsuit, safety harness and special shoes and given a safety briefing before starting the exciting climb. The experience is described as “a suitable challenge for virtually anyone at least 10 years old (and at least 1.2m high) who is medically fit with a sense of personal adventure”.

Up at The O2 will be open all year round, weather permitting. Tickets cost £22 for adults and children aged 10 and above.

Got a head for heights? Tickets are available at from today for O2 customers and to the general public from 30 May.

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